IBM will launch a range of decision support packages in January next year, designed to make it easier for customers to purchase and implement datamarts.
Although Big Blue has, until this point, offered an apparently disparate decision support product line with no clear marketing messages, the move is an attempt to clarify its offerings, and so up sales levels.
Steve Selbst, IBM?s director of business intelligence solutions development, said: ?This is very early thinking, but we?ll have three initial packages that focus primarily on the functional datamart. They?ll be aimed at the decision maker in departments such as sales and marketing and the names may change by the time they?re introduced.?
The first bundle will consist of the DB2 database and the DB2 Olap Server, which is based on Arbor?s Essbase multidimensional database. IBM plans to sell the bundle to end users, but will also work with Vars and systems integrators to develop specific vertical market applications.
The second package, codenamed the Visual Warehouse Solution, will include the Visual Warehouse technology, which provides customers with a basic toolset to build a datamart.
Data Guide will also be included to enable users to browse consolidated metadata from sources such as DB2 Olap Server and the repository in Visual Warehouse.
?One of the problems as you grow a warehouse is the consistency and managment of metadata, which becomes an administrative nightmare. Pretty soon you don?t know the meaning of your data and you need to introduce controls. It?s very important to reconcile inconsistencies,? Selbst explained.
The third bundle will comprise both of the above packages, which will only be available under Windows NT. Selbst expects most customers to want the composite suite, although he added that the first two offerings were aimed at users who wanted the flexibility to mix and match existing or new third party products.
A fourth offering, which is unlikely to appear until later next year, will be more strongly focused on the enterprise. It will include extraction and transformation tools from partners such as Evolutionary Technology and IBM?s own Data Joiner heterogeneous database access and replication tool.
The aim is to make the development of an enterprise-wide data warehouse easier and the package will include middleware to hook the warehouse into different data sources such as transaction systems.
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